Autumn Adventures - Fun Ways to Enjoy Fall Foliage
There's no wrong way to experience the color of autumn, but if you want to do some unusual leef-peeping, the Berkshires offers a number of out of the ordinary ways to experience the golden hues of fall.
First-time visitors to Hawkmeadow Guest Farm might not believe their eyes when they approach the farm's green pastures. But seeing is believing, and the farm's small herd of llamas offer unique hiking companionship while exploring the forested trails just outside Lee. Friendly, furry and sporting names like "Cuzco" and "The Equalizer," the llamas of Berkshire Mountain Llama Hike are happy to lead children and adults alike on a one- to three-hour hike through the fall colors. Call 413-243-2224 for an appointment.
Saddle up with Berkshire Horseback Adventures and trot your way across the Berkshire hills. Rides begin in Lenox and take wannabe buckaroos along the shaded trails of Kennedy Park up Lenox Mountain. When the air is clear, riders are greeted with panoramic views of Berkshire County, the Catskill Mountains of New York and Vermont's Green Mountains - meaning you can see the fall colors of three states on one relaxing trip. Hour-long, half-day and overnight excursions are available on the well-trained mounts. Call 413-637-9090 to schedule a ride.
Sure, picnics aren't that unusual, but a trip up Rte. 7 to Monument Mountain offers more than just a pretty hike and scenic vista. This leaf-peeping trip comes with a serious history lesson. As you enjoy the stunning view of colorful valleys below, you can also ponder the fact that you're retracing the steps of two of the most brilliant writers in American history. Berkshires residents Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville met each other for the first time at a picnic on the mountain in 1850, the beginning of a close, if short-lived friendship that led Melville to turn a light-hearted whale-hunting story into the epic masterpiece Moby Dick. Picnic where Melville and Hawthorne did; sip some wine and let the children frolic in the leaves.
Row, row, row your guided canoe along the upper Housatonic River for an outstanding display of local color. In addition to the wallpaper of vibrant oaks and maples along the banks of the languid waterway, forest animals - deer, fox and leaping fish - provide an ideal setting for a relaxing afternoon on the slow-moving water. Berkshires Canoe Tours cast off from Decker's Landing in New Lenox and run approximately two hours. Call 413-442-2789 for an aquatic approach to leaf peeping.
"Riding my Train, High on Leaf Veins"
Since 1838, travelers have ridden the rails through the scenic Berkshires countryside. Today, visitors can enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour narrated roundtrip ride from Lenox to Stockbridge aboard Berkshire Scenic Railway. The 1950s diesel locomotive chugs its way along the historic tracks, passing beneath 19th-century bridges, across foliage-covered hillsides and alongside the banks of the Housatonic River. Passengers enjoy the classic comfort of the 1920s coaches. The leaf peeper train runs weekends and holidays through the end of October. Catch the train just east of Rtes. 7 and 20, at 1903 Lenox Station. For more information on the train ride and related museum, call 413-663-2210.